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Google: YouTube TV Price Hike, More Content, Sports Sponsorship

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Apr. 5 2018, Updated 12:25 p.m. ET

YouTube TV marks one year since launch

April 2018 marks the first year since Alphabet’s (GOOGL) Google officially launched its Internet-based live television service known as YouTube TV. April will also mark the first full month since Google hiked YouTube TV subscription prices.

Google increased YouTube TV pricing from $35 per month to $40 per month for new subscribers starting on March 14, 2018. With the price hike came more channels, including TNT, CNN, and TBS from Time Warner’s (TWX) Turner network. Google also added more sports channels, including MLB Network and NBA TV.

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YouTube TV betting on sports to draw young subscribers

In the past months, Google signed several sports sponsorship deals for YouTube TV as part of its marketing effort to raise consumer awareness of the service, particularly among young people and sports fans. The sports deals included a multiyear sponsorship agreement with the NBA.

According to Heather Moosnick, director of content partnerships at YouTube TV, sports is key in growing subscriptions among Millennials.

More than 300,000 subscribers on YouTube TV

Google doesn’t disclose how many people are on YouTube TV, but CNBC reported in January that the service has attracted more than 300,000 subscribers. A competing service from Hulu is estimated to have about 450,000 subscribers.

AT&T (T), Dish Network (DISH), and Sony (SNE) have much larger audiences for their online television services. AT&T’s DirecTV Now, which starts at $35 per month, closed 4Q17 with 1.2 million subscribers. Dish Network’s Sling TV, which starts at $20 per month, has more than 2.2 million subscribers.

YouTube overall is a big revenue driver at Alphabet, where revenue increased 23% to $110.9 billion in 2017.

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